5 Common Orthodontic Treatment Questions We Get From Patients
The length and duration of your orthodontic treatment will vary depending on your specific situation. Understandably so, many patients have questions before they get their braces put on. We’ve pulled together five of the most common, to not only set you up for success, but to alleviate any anxiety as it relates to braces.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Every patient and treatment plan are different, and your orthodontist will give you an estimate as to how long your treatment will last. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your treatment is as quick as possible. These include:
- Consistently wearing rubber bands if prescribed
- Brushing and flossing frequently
- Going to your 6-month cleaning at the dentist
- Staying away from sugary or acidic drinks
- Watching what you eat (more on that below)
What Can I Eat During Treatment?
You’ve probably heard a lot of rumors about what you can’t eat when you have braces. With the braces we use, we typically tell patients that most food is still allowed, they just should be eaten a little differently. For example, apples are great! But when wearing braces it’s probably best to eat a sliced apple instead of trying to bite into the whole thing. Very hard, sticky or overly chewy foods like hard candies, ice, nuts, gum, popcorn or bagels should be avoided because they can damage your wires and/or brackets and decrease the effectiveness of your treatment.
As far as braces-friendly foods go, the softer and lower the acidity level, the better. These foods are both gentle on your braces and your teeth, effectively minimizing the likelihood of damaging your braces. Some braces-friendly options include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Soft fruits (ie, banana, avocado)
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Soft cooked vegetables
Do I Need to Brush & Floss More?
Braces don’t necessarily cause more cavities, but they do make it harder for your tongue and cheeks to naturally clean your teeth. Brushing is a bit harder as well because of brackets and wires. However, putting the work in will help prevent permanent white marks, bad breath, swollen gums and cavities. During your treatment, your doctor will likely recommend that you brush in the morning, after every meal and at night.
What Tools Can I Use to Help with Oral Hygiene?
It is important to take care of your oral hygiene during your treatment to keep your mouth in tip-top shape, but to also ensure your treatment time is the quickest possible. As we’ve previously discussed that it will be harder to brush and floss, other tools that may help with oral hygiene include:
- Fluoride Mouth Rinse – used to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decalcification (white marks)
- Water Irrigators – can dislodge food particles
- Interproximal Brushes – can also dislodge food and plaque
How Can I Treat Discomfort at Home?
When your braces are first put on or adjusted, it may cause some discomfort for a short amount of time. At other times, brackets or wires may come loose or food may get stuck. To treat discomfort at home, you can use:
- Over the Counter pain reliever
- Warm salt water rinse
- Interproximal brushes
- Orthodontic wax
It’s important to note that if a bracket or wire are loose, you should contact your orthodontist right away. These suggestions can help with discomfort, but broken braces don’t produce results.
As you begin your journey with braces, Invisalign or other orthodontic treatments, make sure to get answers to the questions you have about your treatment journey. Everyone’s treatment will be different, so make sure to ask your orthodontist plenty of questions about your particular treatment plan.